Originally Posted by $$$Brett$$$
I have a feeling that I might get a reputation for not being able to make up my mind around here. Anyway, i am 5'8", 160lbs and a level 7 skier. I have bounced around from the Volkl S5, to Fischer RX 8 and now to Dynastar Contact 9. With the Volkl's, I feel that they will not be nimble enough for my liking, seems that they will be more of a speed cruiser(too wide?). The RX 8's I feel will be very lively and very quick(too quick?) and I will really have to stay on top of them in order to get the most out of them(not forgiving). Then comes the Contact 9. This seems to be right in the middle of the two and might be the choice for me. I don't even know anymore. This ski seems to be there when you let er rip and also there when you are more relaxed. This ski seems to be the most forgiving out of the three. Mind you, when I say "seems", this means that I am using my knowledge based on what I have read online. Yes, I know what you guys will say. DEMO..DEMO..DEMO! Unfortunately, I live in Poughkeepsie, NY so I will have to travel a bit in order to do this as demos are not really near me. Any advice on the Contact 9 or any of the above for the matter will be greatly appreciated. By the way, I love to CARVE and I see some powder adventures in my future.(by know means deep powder, just some fluff about a foot deep). Thanks for the help!
I'm not sure what you mean by saying that the Volkl's are "too wide". At 69mm underfoot, they're about as narrow as you're going to find these days. I skied the 5* (the predecessor to the S5) for a while. They made nice short turns, but I really had to lay into the ski to get it to bend enough. As I mentioned before, I just found the S5 exhausting to ski, and I weigh about the same as you. So most of the time I went with medium / long radius turns as they didn't require as much input from me.
The RX8's will turn quicker, easier then the S5 will, but you don't have to ski it that way. i.e., you can still get a longer-radius turn out of them. It's a question of which will you be doing more often -- if your skiing is biased towards short turns, then the RX8 will probably be your friend, otherwise, you'll probably prefer the S5.
The only time I've needed "fast feet" was in trees and bumps, and even then, it's mainly a matter of planning ahead. As you appear to be more of a "groomer cruiser" (and there's nothing wrong with that), then I don't see why the lack of "fast feet" would be an issue.
I have never been on a Dynastar in my life.
As for the powder thing. Skiing a foot of freshies on any of the skis you mention is certainly possible, and I've done it. It's not going to be easy. None of them are going to come close to floating unless you ski really fast. You'll want to move up substantially in waist width if you really want powder performance. Everything is a trade off.